Mar 23, 2018

Tumblr finally releases information about state-sponsored propaganda

Users attempted to access Tumblr accounts. Photo: Aditya Irawan/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tumblr has finally broken its silence about Russian state actors using its service and released a list of 84 usernames it believes engaged in "state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda campaigns."

Why it matters: Tumblr, which is owned by Yahoo, is the last of the social media services to comment on how it was used for attempted propaganda.

But: It's still unclear the extent to which these accounts interacted with others on Tumblr. The company has emailed users who have interacted with them, but it's not disclosed the size of their reach.

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Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Wednesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Chinese coronavirus test maker agreed to build a Xinjiang gene bank

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A leading Chinese gene sequencing and biomedical firm that said it would build a gene bank in Xinjiang is supplying coronavirus tests around the world.

Why it matters: U.S. officials are worried that widespread coronavirus testing may provide an opportunity for state-connected companies to compile massive DNA databases for research as well as genetics-based surveillance.

52 mins ago - World

Trump administration to ban Chinese airlines from flying to U.S.

An Air China aircraft landing in New York City in January 2020. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that Chinese passenger airlines will be banned from flying to the United States starting June 16.

Why it matters: Heated tensions between Washington and Beijing are now beginning to impact the airline industry, as the DOT has accused the Chinese government of preventing U.S. airlines from resuming flights to China after suspending them earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.